NEW YORK – With the Ivy League title in hand and a NCAA Regional bid punched, the Columbia baseball will look to remain prepared for postseason play as it hosts Sacred Heart Monday at noon at Robertson Field at Satow Stadium.
The month of May has been a rewarding one for Columbia (26-19, 16-4 Ivy). After capturing the 11th Ivy League title in program history with a sweep of Dartmouth on May 4, the Lions were honored this week with nine All-Ivy League selections. Headlining those selection were first-team honorees pitcher David Speer, shortstop Aaron Silbar and outfielder Jordan Serena.
Monday’s contest will be the first for Columbia since knocking off the Big Green in the Ivy League Championship series. The Lions toppled their Ancient Eight foe in thrilling fashion in the first game, as sophomore Gus Craig ripped a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to give Columbia a 6-5 victory. Game two proved to be less dramatic, with the Lions racking up six runs in the seventh inning en route to a 12-5 win, clinching the Ivy League Championship.
Numerous Lions shined against the Big Green. Second team All-Ivy League selection Joey Falcone went 6-for-9 at the dish, driving in one run and scoring twice. Serena led the charge in the second contest, going 4-for-6, scoring twice and driving in another run. Nick Crucet slapped five hits in nine at bats over the course of two game and accounted for five RBI for Columbia.
The Columbia pitching staff that was stellar all season continued its success against Dartmouth. Speer took the hill in the opening contest and gave the Lions a 5-4 lead before departing in the eighths inning after striking out a season-high 12 batters. Kevin Roy, who garnered honorable mention accolades from the Ivy League, came on in the 10th and held the Big Green scoreless, picking up the win after Columbia scored in the bottom half of the inning.
Second team All-Ivy League selection Joey Donino tossed five solid innings in game two, allowing just three runs on five hits. Senior Stefan Olson came on to pitch the final 3.2 innings, giving up just a solo hit as his teammates continued to add runs to the scoreboard for Columbia.
Four Lions are ranked in the nation’s top-20 in a variety of categories. Serena, the Ivy League’s leader in stolen bases, is 15th in the country with 27 this year. His 0.63 per game average is 12th-best nationally. Crucet ranks 17th with 14 sacrifice bunts in 2013. With a 10.98 strikeout per game mark, Donino is the 12th best pitcher in the nation at sitting down opposing batters and Speer’s five complete games is the eighth-most among all Division I hurlers.
May has also been a productive month for Sacred Heart. The Pioneers are undefeated since the calendar turned from April, going 12-0 this month to push their overall record to 32-21. Most recently, Sacred Heart took a single game at Stony Brook, 5-2, before sweeping a three-game set at home against Niagara. The Pioneers opened the series with an 18-2 trouncing before taking the final two contests by scores of 5-1 and 4-2.
Shortstop John Murphy has set the tone on offense for the Pioneers. The senior has tallied 70 hits, including 24 extra base hits, to lead the team in batting average (.378), slugging (.595) and RBI (43). Freshman Dave Boisture has made his mark in his rookie campaign in Fairfield. A .346 hitter with 31 RBI and three home runs, Boisture has also pitched 12.2 innings this season, including making a pair of starts. He is 1-1 on the year with a 4.26 ERA.
The Pioneers top starter has been sophomore Jeff Stoddard. The lefty boasts an 8-2 record and a 2.23 ERA in 72.2 innings of work. Righty Troy Scribner leads Sacred Heart in innings thrown at 74.1, while also sitting down a team-best 80 opposing hitters.
Monday’s meeting will be the first between Columbia and Sacred Heart since 1983. The Pioneers won both games of a doubleheader early that season in the only two games ever played between the two squads.